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Naltrexone Use in Veterinary Medicine

Naltrexone has been a mainstay in veterinary medicine, used to reverse reactions to and overdose of opiates by blocking opioid receptors. It is also used for the treatment of recurring, compulsive animal behavior disorders such as tail-chasing and self-mutilation such as acral lick dermatitis.

Many More Uses for Naltrexone in Animals when Given as a Low Dose

Based on the positive experiences of pet owners in using low-dose naltrexone (LDN) themselves, many opted to try it on their pets who had similar conditions. Due to the favorable outcomes, veterinarians are now prescribing LDN for their “patients”. It is currently being used in animals to help lessen the pain of chronic arthritis, to treat some autoimmune disorders and to help slow the growth of some tumors. Good results have been reported in treating lymphoma, adenomas, nasal/sinus cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, degenerative myelopathy and others.

The dose of LDN is based on the weight of the animal and must be prepared by a compounding pharmacy. It has been found that giving dogs LDN at night works best, whilst for cats morning doses are more effective since they tend to be nocturnal animals. Many pet owners find it easier to administer LDN as a liquid. In this case, it usually needs to be mixed with a flavoring as it is quite bitter.

Research Using LDN to Treat Animals

  • Combination of LDN, Chemotherapy, and NSAIDs Prolonged Survival and Increased Quality of Life in a Dog with Terminal Liver Cancer, Dec. 2021

    Brazilian researchers reported that adding LDN to a regimen of chemotherapy and pain relievers for a dog suffering from terminal liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC), improved both the length and the quality of its life. Read more here.

  • LDN Added to Chemotherapy Increases Survival in Dogs, Oct. 2018

    In a study at a Brazilian university, female dogs with mammary carcinoma underwent mastectomy followed by either chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy plus LDN. The group that received LDN had higher endorphin levels, fewer side effects from chemotherapy, a better quality of life and prolonged survival. Read more here.

  • LDN's Effects on the Health of Piglets, Dec. 2015

    Piglets can experience decreased appetite, poor growth and can be more susceptible to disease during weaning. In a study at the University of Knoxville in Tennessee piglets treated with LDN gained weight and had lower blood levels of stress hormones. Read more here.

Success Stories

Dolly the PoodleDolly

Dolly the Poodle started bleeding from her nose and was found to have a tumor in her sinus. She was given a prognosis of 3-6 months to live. Radiation therapy was recommended but would only have given her another month of life. Her owner, Steve, had used LDN with good results so decided to try it with Dolly after doing some research on its use in animals. Steve found that the usual dose is 0.03 mg per pound so gave Dolly 0.5 mg daily. After starting treatment with LDN, Dolly’s life improved significantly. She maintained her weight and activity level and became free of pain. Although she was 12 years old, she was acting like a puppy again!

Read LDNscience’s full interview about Dolly.

Kim’s Dog, HaylieghHayliegh

When Hayliegh was diagnosed with liver cancer and then burned her leg, Kim’s veterinarian didn’t have much to offer so Kim did some research on her own. After reading about LDN on a blog, Kim started Hayliegh on it. Shortly afterward, Hayliegh stopped panting and started sleeping at night, no longer needing anti-anxiety or pain medications. Eventually her leg burn improved, she became more mobile and had no symptoms related to her liver cancer. Kim’s veterinarian was very surprised to see Hayliegh’s turnaround. Eventually Hayliegh passed away, but LDN gave her many months of improved quality of life beforehand.

Read LDNscience’s full interview about Hayliegh.

Rocky the boxerRocky

Rocky, a 10 year old boxer developed multiple tumors under his skin on his torso and legs which were removed by the vet as needed. Eventually Rocky got a golf-ball sized tumor on the right side of his face which was found to be a malignant adenoma and was inoperable. The vet said he had 6 weeks to live. Dustin, his owner, decided to try LDN given the good results both his parents had with it. He found a vet in New Jersey who was familiar with LDN and faxed information to Rocky’s vet in Arkansas. After starting LDN, his tumor shrunk to half the size and within 4 months was completely gone! Finally, Rocky was able to eat and yawn without difficulty or pain. Rocky lived another year to the ripe old age of 11.

Read LDNscience’s full interview about Rocky.

Maggie the bulldogMaggie

Cindy and Alan’s dog, Maggie, had severe arthritis causing her difficulty in getting up from a sitting position. She was slowing down and even had a bad limp. After Cindy and her husband had such good responses to LDN for Sjogren’s syndrome and arthritis, they decided to give it to Maggie. They compounded 50 mg tablets into liquid LDN. The results were “immediate and dramatic”! Her limp went away and she even started running. Later on, Maggie injured her anterior cruciate ligament (since she could run again!) and surgery wasn’t a viable option. The vet told them that she would probably be in pain for the rest of her life. At that time, however, Maggie was still on LDN and she miraculously recovered within a couple weeks.

Read LDNscience’s full interview about Maggie.

Yeti, the catYeti

Yeti was lethargic, with no appetite, frequently ill and vomiting. Eventually he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis. After much coaxing, the veterinarian agreed to prescribe LDN on a weight-based dose which was mixed into cat food. Yeti and his 84 year old owner, Fran, started LDN on the same day - Yeti for his cancer and Fran for dementia and polymyalgia rheumatica. After the first dose of LDN, Yeti’s appetite improved immediately and he became active and playful again. After a year on LDN, Yeti was reevaluated by the veterinarian and it was discovered that the tumor had disappeared completely! Fran also had a great response to LDN.

Read more about Yeti here.

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